The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Facing future with resolve

Mission assessments critical

Over the past seven springs I've attended 44 ELCA synod assemblies. This season totaled eight, but that included the two synods of lower Michigan that met at the same venue. It still counts in having a firsthand exposure to two-thirds of the 65 synods of this church.

From collective worship to debate over issues of the moment, there's much to be learned at these gatherings. The most enduring insight has been how these meetings serve as simultaneous get acquainted/reunion sessions. It can be a bit tough to break in as old friends cluster to catch up and relationships are born with new attendees. The dynamic is similar to that of life in a congregation.

Another striking feature is participants' age. Frequently I'm among the "less old" present (at 61, I can't say "younger"). While the ELCA hasn't done survey work on this in some time, in 2008 the median age of those attending worship was 58. In contrast, the median age in the U.S. at the beginning of 2012 was 37.

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